Monday, November 30, 2009


Ours is hung, laden with lovely treats for the girls. My dear parents do the wrapping, the fiddly bits, although this year I did buy a lot of the gifts. It's quite difficult to find small inexpensive but extremely delightful gifts.

We have foregone the activity advent this year, we haven't been successful in completing all tasks in the past and you can only eat so many icecream sundaes!

I'm going to post each day up to and including Christmas. December is a busy month, then Leila's birthday, then overseas guests, there will be lots to share. I love this time of year. It creeps up on me every single time, but wow, what's not to love?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Movie Night x 4

One of Ella's dear classmates and her younger sister joined us for movie night. Four gorgeous girls in the house, such fun. A movie, the perfect child friendly dinner, a walk to the local milk bar, 4 lifesaver coloured tongues, walking friends home, into bed and asleep before I'd left their rooms.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The first from our garden for the year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I was talking to a girlfriend about my recent significant birthday. She's a couple of years older than me so feels she can now comment with authority on what the 4th decade is really like.

We're both very different in terms of our interests, but not in terms of our personalities. We both agreed that in terms of physique, ageing, that kind of thing, in as much as we can affect the outcome, it's up to us. You can only be good to yourself in terms of what you put in and the amount of exercise/care you take, the rest of it you just have to hope nature is kind to you.

We both agreed that time, time is the thing that we think about the most, the time that has passed and the time left ahead. Oh but for more time, both in the individual days and overall.

If you've travelled overseas for an extended period you may be able to relate to the feeling I'm describing. You know that sense of excitment, invinsibility, as if the world is there for you, waiting for you to just reach out and grab it? You know that feeling that when the travelling is over and it's time to head home, you so want to hold on to that feeling when you return in your every day life? That's how I feel when I think about the time passing, a sense of excitement, nervousness, anticipation.

There are so many things I'd love to do: Learn the guitar and the drums, act in an amateur theatre production, paint, write, learn to sew to a professional finish, more space to garden, press my own olives, make my own wine, write a play, learn to dance, run a marathon, learn to crochet, take a jewellery making course, open my own cafe, become a teacher of English as a foreign language, live overseas again, show the girls Europe, hike the Westcoat Trail, walk the Appalachian Mountain Track. So very many things.

I'd love to able to craft for hours on end, invent patterns, develop recipes, cook for others, entertain. If only there were enough time.

I figure that while I'm focussing on my biggest dream of raising an amazing family, until the balance of time tips on a daily basis a little more in my (aka mum's) favour, the excitement, the anticipation of all there is still to do, will carry me through.
flickr photo from Peter Kurdulija

Monday, November 23, 2009


I've edited this post, sorry if you were coming back to it, but well, it was more than a little obtuse and well, I don't know, not for here perhaps.

Instead - the little girl above, a decoration in progress with pattern from here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Knocking heads

I don't always feel that I'm a good parent to my second child. My two girls are very different, almost complete opposites, except for the fact that they're both very loving, sweet girls.

One is dark in hair and eyes, the other blonde and blue. One is overly reasonable, patient, not prone to tempers, the other is willful, determined, prone to outbursts. One is quietly confident, not easily shy, the other can be self conscious and easily embarassed.

I don't find it easy to manage the two different personalities. The babe and I tend to knock heads, increasingly often of late and I'm having to find different ways of dealing with her. If she's shy, embarassed or hurt she will often yell "don't talk about it mum" and won't let me comfort, talk or distract her. She will hit out in frustration. She suffers a lot (we all do) when she's overly tired, yet she'll fight sleep with all her might.

I lose my temper with her, because she won't let me help her and at times simply because she won't do as I say. I never yelled at Ella when she was the same age, or at least I don't remember doing so. Yelling doesn't make me feel better, it doesn't let of steam, it just makes me feel like crap, like a weak pathetic adult who should know better. Ultimately it also has little effect aside from on me.

So many say second children can be more challenging - is that because we haven't made enough room for them, given them enough of our attention? I had 10 years difference between me and my nearest sibling, so never felt I had to share or even fight for any attention. I want my girls to know that they hold equal billing in my heart, but right now I don't think my actions show that.
I worry that in later years our relationship could be different because of how different they are now, and I don't want that. Any advice, anyone had to manage vastly different personalities with success? Anyone come out with success in later years who struggled early on?

Friday, November 13, 2009


Hip, hip, hooray to me!!

I always hope that my loved ones feel special on their birthdays, I do try to do everything I can to make them feel so. This morning started with my wonderful 1+2 giving me the most generous and thoughtful of gifts. G bought me a new camera, something I've been thinking about for the longest time. Let me tell you, I've only had time for a quick play, but this baby is sooooo nice! I hope you will see a marked improvement in my shots from here on in.

The girls bought me this gorgeous Elk necklace, Ella chose it for them. Not only that but I received a voucher to have a professional portrait taken with the girls as well - something else I've always wanted.

Then my parents gifted me another almost lifelong gift wish! Can you believe such riches. So, so generous and so wonderfully appreciated.
Two dear friends from school dropped in after drop off, me with the gastro little one did the kiss and drop option this morning, both came to wish me well with such thoughtful gifts. When people go to such an effort, and you're surprised, well I feel well loved today and it's nice.
The headless photo of me, in case you're wondering, is because Ella wanted to show me what 40 looked like. You know what, it's looking pretty good to me!
PS Jo, Geoff thanks you for the camera tips in your recent post - you can see he used some of them!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sheet to skirt

I recently donated the girls' cot and change table to charity, but had hung on to the sheets. Although they're well used, they're in perfect condition and so deliciously soft. I'm not sure why I kept them, perhaps to give to friends, but honestly most of our friends have passed the babes in cot phase so they were just sitting there.

I have never managed to find true, what I call, swiss cotton anywhere. That lovely soft fine cotton that is so lovely for childrens clothing. I've bought things made from it, had things myself, but never found any to buy. Today, when Leila spilt a Quelch icy tube down the front of a well loved white dress, as I was bleaching it clean, I thought, the cot sheets. Both my girls have white dresses they love and look gorgeous in, but they take a beating. So, sheets became skirts.

I actually have an old gorgeous soft creamy yellow sheet for our bed that is frayed at the bottom, I might be able to part with it if there's a nice comfy skirt in it for me! Free pattern care of Dana Made.


I saw a box of croutons in the supermarket a while ago, they were over $4.00 for a very small box and nowhere in the contents did I see "bread".

We had some gorgeous bread on Saturday night, but didn't eat it all. Some turned into breadcrumbs, the rest was cut into cubes, tossed in olive oil, salt and finely chopped garlic and toasted in a moderate oven for 10 minutes. No additional cost, only additional yum to tonight's salad dinner.

Monday, November 09, 2009

4 days left

until I turn 40. I only have four more days when I can say that I'm in my 30's.

We celebrated with Geoff's family on Saturday night, at my brother in laws house. They have a lovely house and pool, but for some reason I didn't feel inclined to strip down to my togs and go for a dip. I imbibed cool liquids instead of bathing in them, because that's what you do when you're almost 40.

I have 4 days to make a list as Christie did on her birthday las year. There's plenty I still want to do, I've only just scratched the surface. In terms of life achievements though, I feel I've already done my best work.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

11 years

later and he still buys the most thoughtful gifts of anyone I've ever known.

What was I doing this time 11 years ago, gosh was I eating breakfast, or perhaps already getting my hair done? In terms of remembering all the details it seems a long time ago, but in terms of a life shared, it feels so brief. Thank goodness lifetimes are long.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What's Hot + What's Not

I'm loving these illustrations by Linotte. I haven't purchased any ...... yet.

I'm loving pedicures. I am a come lately to such things, but go regularly now and have to say, having nice clean, neat, painted toenails (something I would NEVER find time to do myself) is becoming a necessary indulgence.

I've just started the third book in the Millennium series. I'm even reading in bed, which is huge, given how much I love my sleep.

What's Not
Taking Leila to a paedeatric dermatologist this morning, for a problem that is not really a problem any more, but that's not really a surprise given it took about 4 months to get in to see him. Having HUGE hassles finding the place due to numbering changing sides of the road in Kew, seeing him for about 7 minutes to hear nothing I didn't already know, $160.00 thank you.
Ironing. I'm no good at it and I don't like it. I resist ironing anything that can be folded. There does come a point, however, when you can't ignore the overflowing basket(s). I've ironed this morning, like a good little woman, I watched the whole of Dr Phil while I did - that's an hour of ironing!

The squabbling that has become a regular occurrence in hour house. The girls are at each other all the time. I was going so insane this morning I walked out and slammed the door shut, went for a quick walk around the court, breathing fast and deep through the nostrils, before coming back and saying that I wouldn't tolerate it any more. The little one winds the big one up no end, but she has her moments too. I have 3 older brothers, the nearest is 9 years older, so I didn't really do that sibling thing - any tips for survival?

Monday, November 02, 2009

From our garden

I'm always more enthusiastic about the summer garden. So far this year we have strawberries, 4 type of tomatoes, eggplants, zucchinis, cucumbers, peas, beans, capsicums and basil. I'm sure I can squeeze in a bit more....

Soft seat

This has been on my to-do list for ages. We spend a lot of time on the front verandah between now and March. It's comfy enough, but I do like a soft seat. Foam from Clarke Rubber was a surprising $41.00 - I thought that quite expensive. Material from IKEA around $26.00 - gorgeous heavy canvas. Not a completely neat job - I wanted something I could get off easily enough to wash - which meant an opening on the long side rather than the short to avoid fighting to get the foam back in each time. I used large press studs because they were to hand, doing it again I'd give valcro a whirl.

Overall verdict - quite pleased.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


On a tip from Claire I signed up for the nanowrimo for November. I have gotten out of the discipline of writing for, well far too long, tonight I was motivated. A great idea, the words poured out. Unfortunately I didn't read the instructions well enough and after typing directly into their word count screen, promptly lost my first 250 words. I LOVED those words and now I can't get them back. The anguish of it all - they'll never be that good again, thank god I didn't leave it until I'd done more.